Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8 Common Ghost Hunting Mistakes (More or Less)

As I was reading this post on a blog by a prolific paranormal author, I found myself quibbling over some of this as well as having a few suggestions of my own. So, without further ado, I present MY 8 Common Ghost Hunting Mistakes....

1) I will agree to Mr. Branson-Trent's first mistake, Trespassing. It is unwise to do so and I shall go on record as saying I don't advise any of you to break the law. We may have all done it in the course of urban exploration, but for a proper investigation, you need time and access--something only permission can afford you.

2) He also cites 'being fearful of ghosts' as a big mistake as well. I would agree. I've never been frightened, as I don't see these experiences a fearful--thrilling perhaps, but never fearful. I find those individuals who turn ghost hunts into horror films are often a bit fantasy prone and not likely to give the endeavor the strict scrutiny it deserves.

3) Branson-Trent recommends not going alone, as do many others. In fact, he says the ideal group is 3 - 6 people. I think at 6, you're getting carried away. I'm all for just a tiny handful of people. The more people you have the more problems. I'm going to say this: I go alone frequently. This is usually because I'm doing a bit of urban exploration and photography and these expeditions are often done on a whim. While, we can cite the possible dangers in going alone (all valid, by the way), the truth is we face danger on a daily basis. That said, take precautions: let someone know where you are, have a cell phone with you, etc... Also, evaluate the situation. If you're in rundown old crack house in the middle of gangland, perhaps you shouldn't be alone. If you're in a sinkhole infested former rusty nail factory, perhaps you shouldn't go alone. Use common sense.

4) His 4th was basically still number 3, so I'm using this space here to capriciously share some lyrics from the B-52's "Rock Lobster":

Here comes a stingray
There goes a manta-ray
In walked a jelly fish
There goes a dog-fish
Chased by a cat-fish
In flew a sea robin
Watch out for that piranha
There goes a narwhal
Here comes a bikini whale!

5) Next, our esteemed expert advises us not to drink, smoke, or start fires. I would think this goes under the common sense category. I would add litter. I'm all about leaving nothing but footprints. I would also advise that if you've got more gear than NASA that you run some long cables to a van or something. This goes along with whole lotta people hypothesis. Aside from the thought that too much activity can actually have the opposite effect on a haunted location, I am also reminded of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and how we change what we study--sometimes even by the act of observation. While this principle is meant for subatomic realms, I think it often applies to the macro as well.

6) His number 6 is about my number 8, so I'll spend my time here haranguing you on how important I feel it is to dress professionally, especially when visiting a person's home. While I understand the need for comfort with many long hours ahead, it's important to understand what image you might be projecting. If you're all clad in matching t-shirts with a goofy ghost cartoon and your acronymic persona spelled out in dripping vampire font, then you might not be presenting the polished professional image you'd like to. In a field that seems to be more concerned these days with having the "look" of something like T.A.P.S. than making sure the work is high quality, it's easy to fall into the trap of the paracelebrity wanna be. Just dress nicely, act professionally, and be serious about the work you're doing.

7) He adds not to dare, threaten, or taunt entities, stating that they aren't always friendly thereafter. But he formerly had said that these entities can't hurt you. Which is it? I would say that, experience has taunt many of us that different presences respond in different ways: some to men only, some to the presence of children, and some to anger. Use what you must, if it helps. But make sure you don't look like a total douche in the process.

8) For his 8th comment, he blathers on about feelings and intuition. I say screw that. We all follow our gut instincts and don't need to be reminded of that. I say have a plan. That said, I'll spend my number 8 talking about my favorite subject: photography. DO NOT use an integrated flash. If at all possible, do not use a flash. If you do, make sure the following is going on. You have a hotshoe-mounted external flash that can angle up for a bounce fill and use a diffusion baffle. If you can, I would recommend separate soft boxes (small portable ones). The reason for all this is not only those obnoxious orbs (but try it and see how you will stop getting them), but because those little xenon flashes was out the subtle details of your scene that might be important as well as cause "false positives" from a host of environmental elements, including vapors and particulates in the air.

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

Very nice. My biggest bug-a-boo's are these:

1. Psychics that get emotional and run from the scene (WTF?)
2. Groups that wear team t-shirts that tell the neighbors "your neighbors think they're haunted."
3. Taunting--not because you can get hurt (NOPE!) Because it simply does not work as well as novelty and charm. Some laughter, small talk, use of your first name a lot, folksy adorable chatter, and sometimes putting out strange target objects that are unusual or unique, hanging windchimes, doing the unexpected.
4. Fools who don't tag noises during EVPs, move around, make noises, and hold their recorders in their hands.